Big Bradley Waterfall Rappel 4C III
Big Bradley Waterfall rappel located in Saluda, North Carolina is an advanced waterfall rappelling trip that includes a drop of about 125 ft. The rappel can be done as a single rappel (150 ft rappel for a single rappel) or it can be broken up into two rappels if there is concern with the pull.
If broken into two rappels, the first rappel is about 50 ft into a giant pot hole and requires an awkward start to begin. There are bolts or trees that can be used as anchors at the top of this rappel. The second waterfall rappel of about 75 ft.-100ft. will have you navigate multiple ledges, slippery terrain, and free hanging positions. The anchor for the second rappel is more difficult. There are some bolts upstream of the pothole which can be used but be sure to bring plenty of webbing so that you can extend your anchor to at least the upstream lip of the pothole otherwise you may have trouble with your pull. There is an option to build an anchor in a vertical crack on the canyon right side on the downstream side of the pothole as well, but use caution if choosing this option and do not climb out of this pothole without being roped in as a fall will be fatal.
It is easier to complete the waterfall rappel of Big Bradley as a single rappel, but more fun to separate it into two rappels. (Pura Vida Adventures is the only commercial company that separates the rappel in two separate rappels which allows participants to hangout and experience the pothole together. In addition Pura Vida does not use a lower on the rappel but lets participants actually rappel freely. Increasing the participants autonomy and increasing the level of adventure. [Similar to riding a bike without training wheels.])
After completing the Big Bradley waterfall rappel, you will find yourself deep in the Big Bradley Gorge. Initially, you will want to navigate the gorge on the left side making your way downstream navigating giant boulders and multiple swimming holes. As you make your way further downstream the watershed starts to flatten out and becomes more of a creek walk the second half of the trip as you make your way down to and across the Green River to Green River Rd. There is a second exit option which adds a lot of additional excitement and allows you to avoid the monotonous part of the exit out to the creek. In addition, this exit allows you to turn the canyon into a loop and avoid having to set a shuttle.
To find this second exit option continue downstream until the small waterfalls and large boulders vanish and the creek flattens out. There is a trail on the canyon right side that parallels the creek. Find this trail and head back upstream. You will need to navigate some steep sides and there may be one place where the trail is eroded and a handline may be needed to pass an exposed area safely. Once you pass this eroded area keep and eye out for a small drainage off to your left that comes into view as the trail climbs a short distance. Continue your steep hike and rock scramble up this drainage which will bring you up to the main trail. (Use caution when climbing up this drainage as there are loose rocks and you do not want to knock them on the rest of your group coming up below you. Once you hit the main trail head right and follow it back to the parking lot.
To learn more about our Big Bradley waterfall rappel and other waterfall rappelling programs visit our canyoneering page.
Please note you are currently required to get a permit from North Carolina Game lands to enter the bottom of Big Bradley Gorge.